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Millions of pounds in grants available for small businesses

New funding available to small businesses includes £75m for the Growth Programme to support new jobs and growth in the rural economy.

Of this £45m of this funding has been allocated to top up the three national business development, food processing and tourism infrastructure offers launched in January this year, increasing the support available to £165m.

These calls are open until January 2018. A new national offer supporting rural broadband is also expected to be launched in the late summer with a budget of £30m.

There has been considerable interest in the £120m Growth Programme offers opened in January, with applications requesting over £70m being received by the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) in the first six months. 

The offer to support rural broadband infrastructure will be open to Local Authorities with projects under the Government’s national Superfast Broadband Programme. This funding will ensure more rural businesses, and their surrounding communities, receive faster broadband connections, supporting economic development. More details will be announced in the near future. 

The majority of Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs), in collaboration with the RPA, hosted a number of workshops across England in the spring which proved successful in encouraging applications to the Growth Programme.

Plans for further workshops later this year are being developed. In addition, the RPA is running workshops to offer technical support to applicants through every stage of the application process.

The details of all these events can be obtained by emailing

Information on the current RDPE Growth Programme grants can be found on GOV.UK and information on the wider ESIF Growth Programme can be found there also.